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Iconic Barry's Bar and Grill welcomes back Husker fans after extended closure

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Barry's Reopens, 10.2

Customers wait in line outside of Barry's Bar and Grill, which shut down in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic. The bar reopened this weekend under new ownership.

The iconic Haymarket bar known for its rooftop gathering spot and pregame atmosphere had  been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Even when restrictions started to relax and bars began to open again, Barry's remained closed.

But that changed this weekend, and the popular bar at Ninth and Q streets had a line of people waiting outside Saturday morning after having a packed house the night before, new owner Mark Suleiman said.

"This is the place to be on gameday," said Andrew Wolthuis, who visited the bar Saturday afternoon. "Everybody I know loves it here without question."

Wolthuis is from Utah, but has had Husker football tickets for nine years. Every time he comes to Lincoln, he has to go to Barry's, he said.

"In Nebraska, people are known for their kindness and generosity, and Barry's is known for that too," he said.

When Suleiman bought the bar, he didn't just get a business — he inherited a legacy, and his goal is to breathe life back into that.

"It’s the gateway to Lincoln, it’s the first traffic light you see when you come into downtown," he said. "It’s your first gameday taste of the sea of red."

Suleiman bought Barry's Bar and Grill this summer and had big plans to reopen it since, he said.

A few cosmetic fixes have been made to the bar, but Suleiman plans to make bigger changes, beginning with the addition of live music.

Starting next weekend, Barry's will have a stage set up for live bands.

That isn't the only difference customers will see in the future, however.

When football season starts to wind down, Suleiman plans to change the bar's exterior, replace the 10 Below area with a bigger food option and expand the rooftop.

"I’m looking forward to the day we can bring Barry’s a stellar food component, the live music scene and be able to build off that gameday, everyday tradition,” he said.

A lot of hard work went into preparing Barry's for its reopening, said Alex McCollister, IT director for Suleiman Holdings.

"Everyone working to reopen Barry’s has been incredibly dedicated. We just want to run the best bar in Lincoln," he said. "We’re really committed to making Barry’s a success for years to come.”

Going forward, McCollister expects Barry's will continue to increase in popularity as more people find out the bar is open.

"It just means a lot to people," he said. "It's one of those places that so many Nebraskans and people in Lincoln are happy to see come back."

Barry's to make its Husker return this weekend in downtown Lincoln
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